This Italian Eggplant Sandwich is a go-to dinner recipe for us– A mouth watering twist on the classic Italian Veal Sandwich, substituting eggplant for veal turning it into a true vegan delight even omnivores will enjoy. Since James has decided to go vegan this month, I had to arm myself with his favourite meals. I have been working for weeks re-creating his favourite dishes and this is one of them. At least once a week heads down the street to the Italian sandwich shop and gets himself an Italian veal sandwich large enough to feed a small family. In my opinion, this had to stop, so here is my delicious vegan alternative– The Italian Eggplant Sandwich
Toppings are the most important part in giving your Italian sandwich that special zing. We love spicy food, so we chop up jalapeno peppers and pan fry them with a bit of oil and some salt and sauté them until they are bright green and soft. If you don’t care for the spicier side of life than by all means feel free to substitute the jalapenos for another type of pepper. We also pan fry up some mushrooms using the same basic method we did with the jalapenos. The type of mushroom is a personal preference but we usually use cremini.
To make the “meaty” part of this epic Italian sandwich you will start by dipping your eggplant slice into an egg replacement being sure to coat it evenly. The thickness of the slice and your choice of egg replacement is simply a matter of personal preference, but I wouldn’t go too much thicker than ½ inch rounds. Once you have your Eggplant thoroughly coated place it in a bowl of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and make sure you coat it evenly in those as well. After those two steps are complete put your breaded eggplant into a pan of hot oil and fry it until it reaches a nice crispy light-brown consistency.
Now pull out that jar of homemade tomato sauce. What? You don’t have a jar of homemade tomato sauce? The tomato sauce is an integral part of this recipe so don’t even think about skipping it. Evenly spread your tomato sauce on both halves on your bun- when it comes to bun selection for this recipe keep in mind you need to stick with a more robust bun as you are loading your Italian sandwich up with quite a few ingredients. I prefer a Kaiser from the vegan bakery down the street.
Now add your fried eggplant to the bottom bun and top it with your jalapenos, mushrooms, and another generous helping of sauce and your favourite vegan mozzarella cheese. Add the top bun and consider cutting your freshly created Italian Eggplant Sandwich in half. It is a hearty sandwich and can tend to get a bit messy if you try and eat it without cutting it in half.
For all of you out there considering going vegan take us up on our 30 Day Vegan Challenge and try it for 30 days. James has taken up the torch and is going vegan for 30 days as well so you won’t be doing it alone. Why not bring your friends along too? There are also many tasty recipes already on this blog to aid you in your quest, and many more to come.
- Prepare the marinara sauce, and heat through. Once heated, reduce heat to keep warm.
- Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to a large-size pan, and heat over medium high heat. Add mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and cook stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are tender and browned. This should take about 10 minutes. Lower heat to keep warm.
- Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a medium-size pan, and heat over medium high heat. Add jalapeños with a sprinkle of salt and cook stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the jalapeños are soft and bright green. This should take about 5-8 minutes. Lower heat to keep warm.
- In a medium-size, shallow bowl, whisk together your egg replacer. In a second bowl, add the seasoned breadcrumbs. Add ¾ cup olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium-high heat until oil is heated to 325F, or until it bubbles when you add a couple bread crumbs. That is how I always test my oil.
- Working in batches, dip the eggplant into the egg replacer, and then coat completely in breadcrumbs. Place the eggplant medallions in oil and fry until lightly golden and cooked through on both sides, about 4 minutes per batch. When eggplant is completely cooked, remove from frying pan and place onto paper towels to blot any excess oil.
- Place your buns in the oven at 400F for 2 minutes or place facedown on a pan to toast slightly. Remove buns form heat and spoon about 2 tbsp worth of marinara sauce on both halves and top with vegan mozzarella cheese. Place 2 or 3 eggplant slices onto warmed crusty bun and top with mushrooms and jalapeños. if you like a really saucy sandwich you can also add more sauce. Top with second half of the bun, cut in half and enjoy!